If you’re considering a getaway in a holiday cottage in the Cotswolds you’ll want to know exactly where you can visit, what you can do, what’s on in the Cotswolds and where you can refuel.

Cotswold cottage holidays

We made a film about some of our favourite things to do in the Cotswolds – watch the video and then read on to discover all we saw that you too can enjoy on your next Cotswold self-catering holiday.


Here are our favourite things to see and do on a Cotswold cottage holiday.

  1. Here at StayCotswold we are spoilt for choice when it comes to a trip to a farmers’ market at the weekend. A firm favourite is Stroud Farmers’ Market, run by the lovely folk at fresh-n-local.co.uk, which takes place every Saturday in Cornhill Market place. They also run the farmers’ market in Stow-on-the-Wold on the second and last Thursday of the month (just the second Thursday October to March), plus not to be missed Gloucester Farmers’ market every Friday.
  2. One of the joys of a Cotswold self-catering holiday is that you get to stock up on fresh produce. In addition to the farmers’ markets, the Cotswold towns and villages are packed with local artisan producers. For baked goods pop into The Artisan Baker in Cheltenham, Five Valleys food hall in Stroud and their regular stall at Stroud Farmers’ market.
  3. Afternoon tea lovers will want to test out the finger sandwiches, scotch eggs, delicious cakes and truly scrumptious scones at The Painswick Hotel. Whilst there why not stay for a cocktail or alternatively you could try their incredible Sunday lunch. If you’re looking to burn off the calories then there is nothing nicer than a stroll around the nearby Rococo Garden in Painswick. Nestled in a hidden valley the paths can be a little steep at times but magical follies, an unusual maze and rustic wooden play area are worth the effort.
  4. We are lucky in the Cotswolds to be surrounded by plenty of country pubs and inns serving local ales and fine food. A favourite is the Angel in Burford where we have been known to while away many a Sunday afternoon in front of the open fire. The Swan Hotel in Bibury is always on our list of Sunday Roast hot-spots – although we can highly recommend their weekly lunch and dinner menus too.
  5. There are many producers of alcoholic beverages scattered across the area from the Cotswold Cider Company and Hawkstone Brewery to the Cotswolds Distillery. However, when in the Southern Cotswolds we highly recommend a trip to the Woodchester Valley Vineyard. Enjoy a guided wine tour before picking up a bottle or two from the onsite shop.
  6. Exploring the towns and villages of the Cotswolds is something we never tire of, especially when there is a beautiful church to look around too. St Mary’s Church in Painswick is the largest Church and Parish in the area and its beautiful spire and weathercock can be seen from miles around. Although its 99 yew trees, which date back to the 18th century, are equally a sight to be seen. Slightly more ‘famous’ is St Edward’s church Stow-on-the-Wold. The ancient yew tree door is said to have inspire JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  7. Many of our Cotswold cottage holiday guests pack their walking shoes to get out and explore the countryside. A great place to visit is the Westonbirt Arboretum where you will find over 2,500 species of trees from all over the world it plays a vital part in research and conservation efforts. It is a simply stunning place to visit at any time of the year as the wide variety of trees take on the colours of the different seasons.
  8. A great way to find a walking route and discover the local area is on a canal or river walk. The Cotswold Canals Trust does a fantastic job in maintaining and restoring the canal network ensuring the towpath between Eastington and Brimscombe continues to offer an excellent route for walkers. Visit cotswoldcanals.org to find out more about their work and Discovering Britain for detailed and guided walking routes.
  9. If walking is a little too sedate for you, or you have children (young or old) in your group then get yourself over to Go Ape in the Forest of Dean for a fun-filled and action-packed day swinging through the trees. With their sister site, Forest of Dean Mallards Pike, just 10 minutes down the road you can choose between their treetop adventure, adventure plus and challenge. Or zip around the paths on their forest Segway’s.
  10. Still on the topic of activities, we always enjoy a walk to the top of Painswick Beacon where the 360 degree views from the Iron Age hill fort is worth the 283m climb to the top. Not quite as flat as a canal or river walk, the beacon can be reached by several local walking routes, one of which starts from the Falcon Inn in Painswick.
  11. If you have sporting fanatics in your party you may want to plan your visit around a trip to Cheltenham races. With race meetings all year round – even on New Year’s Day – many of our holiday cottage guests come for the world famous festival in April. If you’re hoping to pick the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup you will want to visit in March – just be sure to buy your tickets and book your Cotswold holiday cottage in good time – it is always a sell-out.
  12. If participation sport is more your thing then you will be delighted to hear that guests can book a tee off time at the magnificent Painswick golf club. Afterwards enjoy a relaxing drink in the Clubhouse, with views across the 18th hole, or stop for a bite to eat at The Waypoint where you can enjoy sourdough pizza or fresh deli sandwiches.

For more things to see and do on your Cotswold cottage holiday check out other articles on our Cotswold Guide.